Absolute Sanctuary

July 08, 2010

Absolute Sanctuary
  • Introduction

This story shares my experience at Absolute Sanctuary, a beautiful health spa and yoga centre in Koh Samui, Thailand, where I did a 3-day Ultimate Detox program and came away feeling healthy and energized.

Photos courtesy of Absolute Sanctuary

My body was crying for mercy. Too much airplane food, too many late nights, too much stress, too much alcohol. My work hard, play hard lifestyle had caught up with me.

Although I tried to exercise regularly, going for walks or short runs as well as sporadic attendance at hot yoga classes, my busy schedule and frequent work-related travel seemed to have taken over. The batteries were seriously run down and felt like I could sleep for a week. And to top it off I was about to change jobs, which would mean long hours and many months before I’d be able to take a holiday.

I started to dream about sitting on a beach doing nothing but reading, eating healthy food and swimming in the sea.

I’d heard about health farms and wellness retreats but couldn’t quite imagine a holiday without good food and cocktails by the pool. But maybe it was time to reconsider.

Some friends had recently been to a detox spa in Koh Samui, Thailand, and raved about it. The program involved fasting and daily colonics, which sounded pretty full on. But invariably the benefits they described were dramatic. After a week they’d come back feeling healthier, more focused and self-aware. They had lost weight and were more positive, ready to take on the world again.

I had to admit it sounded like just what I needed.

And then coincidentally, I heard that the owners of my favourite hot yoga studio in Singapore were opening a health retreat and yoga centre in Koh Samui and I knew I had to try it.  I had one week off between jobs in April 2008 and became the first client of Absolute Sanctuary.

I was told there might be some inconvenience as the new resort was still getting its finishing touches and the yoga centre wasn’t yet completed, which meant I had to go to the studio in the nearby beachside town of Bo Phut if I wanted to do a yoga class. But I didn’t mind. At that point all I wanted was to sleep.

Although it’s common for cleansing programs to be 7 or even 10 days, I didn’t have that much time so I signed up for the 3-day Ultimate Detox program, which involved fasting, apart from detox drinks, organic vegetable broth, coconut water and vitamins, daily ‘colon hydrotherapy’ sessions, daily yoga (if you wanted), a massage and lots of purified water. I arrived the day before the program started and was given a general health consultation and told what to expect.

I was a bit curious about how I would survive without food as I had never fasted before, and also a bit nervous about the colonic part of the treatment. But there was no turning back.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that fasting wasn’t difficult at all. You have four detox drinks each day, made from fresh juice, bentonite clay and psyllium husks, which, apart from their specific benefits in the detox process, keep you feeling full. Although I did think about eating, the ritual of going to the juice bar to have the health drinks and getting soup from the kitchen adequately filled the mealtime void.

As for the colonics, the treatment centre staff was very professional and explained the process and equipment in a way that helped make me as comfortable as possible. In fact, over the course of the next few days, I learned about the functioning of the liver and digestive system and how important a healthy bowel is to overall health.

I also came to better understand the benefits of fasting – allowing the body to cleanse and regenerate. But as toxins are released there are some side effects, typically just headaches (although some people may have more pronounced reactions). While not pleasant, fortunately for me the headaches didn’t last long.

I brought along a stack of books and magazines and found total bliss lounging poolside or relaxing on my balcony in the shade reading and dozing. This was just what my body and my mind needed. Absolute rest and relaxation.

After my 3-day program I stayed on for a few more days, happy to be eating again but sticking with small servings of raw food served from The Love Kitchen, the spa’s unique restaurant. I felt fantastic.

If you have ever wanted to do something good for yourself, something that helps you to get connected to your body, this is it.  

Postscript: I loved my experience at Absolute Sanctuary so much that I went back a year later and it was great to see a busy, fully functioning resort that had managed to keep it’s sense of tranquility while constantly improving the facilities and guest services. It’s what I think of as a healthy indulgence that I hope to repeat every year.

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Highlights

  • Lose weight and feel great
  • Moroccan-inspired decor
  • Thai-style massage is bliss

Travel Tips

  • There is free wi-fi, so bring a laptop and DVDs as you’ll be sick of reading and tv options are minimal.
  • The bean burrito at the Love Kitchen is delicious (have it BEFORE your fast starts)

Travel Planning

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Additional Information

  • Get the most out of the detox treatment and reduce the side effects by preparing your body for a week or two more beforehand. This involves removing red meat, alcohol and caffeine from your diet. Even better, remove wheat and dairy as well, keeping mainly to fruits, vegetables and brown rice. Boring but consider it part of the cleanse.
  • Treat your body well immediately after the detox by eating small portions and if possible stick to raw foods for a day and build up to cooked foods and meat.

What next?

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